Po­lice praised for re­sponse

Of­fi­cers ‘jus­ti­fied’ in cross­bow in­ci­dent

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Rob Har­ries @rob­har­ries83 07890 546505 robert.har­[email protected]­di­awales.co.uk

ARMED po­lice of­fi­cers were jus­ti­fied in us­ing ba­ton rounds to floor a man mak­ing threats with a cross­bow in a res­i­den­tial street, a po­lice watch­dog has said.

It also praised them for their pro­fes­sion­al­ism on a day on which they feared for their lives.

Of­fi­cers were called to Burry Street in Llanelli in the early hours of Tues­day, March 26. Robert Sa­muel, 27, had di­alled 999 and told operators he was hear­ing voices in his head and that he was go­ing to kill po­lice of­fi­cers.

When po­lice ar­rived at the scene, they found Sa­muel armed with a loaded cross­bow. A stand­off en­sued which brought sec­tions of Llanelli to a stand­still, with many nearby streets closed off.

Dur­ing the in­ci­dent, Sa­muel pointed the cross­bow at po­lice and shouted at them to shoot him in or­der to “put me out of my mis­ery”.

Af­ter 15 min­utes of ne­go­ti­a­tion, armed of­fi­cers shot two ba­ton rounds which struck Sa­muel in the front and rear of his torso, lead­ing him to fall to the ground. He was ar­rested and taken to Prince Philip Hos­pi­tal in Llanelli with an in­jured wrist.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the events of that day has now been car­ried out by the In­de­pen­dent Of­fice for Po­lice Con­duct (IOPC). That in­ves­ti­ga­tion found of­fi­cers dealt with the in­ci­dent pro­fes­sion­ally and used a “less lethal op­tion” to de­tain Sa­muel, who they said was act­ing in an “un­pre­dictable and threat­en­ing man­ner”.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors from the IOPC attended the scene in Llanelli and car­ried out house-to-house en­quiries, took wit­ness state­ments, and watched footage cap­tured from the scene on CCTV, body­worn cam­eras and mobile phones. They also treated of­fi­cers from South Wales Po­lice and Dyfed-Powys Po­lice as wit­nesses.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded in June and found Sa­muel’s wrist in­jury was caused by a ba­ton round fired by of­fi­cers. This use of force, ac­cord­ing to the IOPC, was jus­ti­fied.

“I would like to con­grat­u­late the of­fi­cers for the pro­fes­sional way they dealt with this in­ci­dent,” said IOPC direc­tor for Wales, Ca­trin Evans.

“Po­lice of­fi­cers are al­ways ex­pected to use the least amount of force nec­es­sary to achieve their aim and in this case, they suc­cess­fully gained con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion through the use of a less lethal weapon. The of­fi­cers showed real con­cern for the man’s wel­fare in a chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion where one of the of­fi­cers said he feared for his life.

“In our opin­ion, it is clear from the ev­i­dence we have gath­ered that their use of force was jus­ti­fied.”

Sa­muel, of Heol Bryn-gwili in Cross Hands, pleaded guilty to mak­ing threats to kill, mak­ing threats with an of­fen­sive weapon, and pos­ses­sion of Class B drugs.

He was jailed for two years at Swansea Crown Court ear­lier this month and told he would serve half of that in cus­tody be­fore be­ing re­leased on li­cence.

Po­lice cor­doned off an area of Llanelli as they dealt with Robert Sa­muel, be­low.

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